A Core Strength Sequence to Get Through Difficult Yoga Poses

Core strength will help you get through those difficult poses. You'll feel easier in your poses and more capable in your life.
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Core strength will help you get through those difficult poses. You'll feel easier in your poses and more capable in your life.
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Core strength will help you get through those difficult poses. You'll feel easier in your poses and more capable in your life.

This sequence by Harvey Deutch and Sarana Miller, a student of Ana Forrest, taps into your core, the literal and symbolic center of power. But this isn't a "Get a six-pack in six weeks" deal. Instead of focusing on the rectus abdominus (the six-pack), you'll work the deeper layers of the abdominal area, such as the transversus abdominus.

Switching from the six-pack to the deeper layers takes subtle awareness, so be patient even if you can't access the muscles right away. (When all else fails, try laughing, says Miller, since you use the transversus to laugh or cough.)

It's important to persevere, but don't work to exhaustion or you'll end up using your lower back and hip flexors. Plan on doing just a few repetitions each day, and your body will respond quickly. The result of all your hard work? A stronger core, more ease in your poses, and a more powerful you.

See alsoUgh, Ab Work—Why It’s Worth It

Before You Begin

Engaging Mula Bandha, or the perineum, contains your energy and strengthens the pelvic floor. Sitting in Virasana (Hero Pose), roll your sitting bones back and engage Ashvini Mudra (the anal sphincter muscles). Bring your pelvis back to neutral. Now try to feel the perineum, the area right in front of the anus. Engage Mula Bandha by lifting the perineum (the action is very similar to Kegels). Do 30 lifts 3 times, breathing naturally.

Finding Your TA: The transversus abdominus (TA) is the deepest of the four layers of abdominal muscles. It runs from your lower ribs to your pubis and acts like a girdle, wrapping around your body. Lie back with your feet on the floor. Place your first two fingers on your frontal hipbones and move them an inch toward your navel. Exhale and engage the TA by drawing your belly back toward the ground. Take 5 breaths, keeping it engaged.

See alsoRedefining Great Abs

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